23 August

Ania Lewandowska

23 August

Good morning,

Prime Minister Theresa May is today expected to soften her position on new legal rules after Brexit. A government blueprint on how the UK will treat rulings by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) will say its "direct jurisdiction" will end when Britain leaves the EU, although EU judges or officials could play a role in settling disputes.
 
Critics say this position falls short of May’s promise to take the UK completely out of the Luxembourg-based ECJ's jurisdiction after Brexit, pointing out that the word "direct" leaves room for the ECJ to continue playing a part. On the other hand, business groups called on the government to be flexible and prioritise the economy.
 
The proposals consider different options and, as The Times reports, it possibly paves the way for Britain to follow non-EU countries such as Norway, which accepts European laws and court judgments in return for privileged access to the single market.
 
In other news, following the recent North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile tests, the Trump administration is ramping up pressure and imposed sanctions on 10 Chinese and Russian companies and six individuals accused of helping North Korea develop nuclear weapons.
 
North Korea and the United States also clashed at a UN forum yesterday, over their military intentions towards one another, with Pyongyang's envoy declaring it would "never" put its nuclear deterrent on the negotiating table.
 
All of which is enough to make most of us seek solace in some light relief, so here’s a joke from Ken Cheng, which has been named the funniest gag of this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.
 
"I'm not a fan of the new pound coin, but then again, I hate all change."
 
If you didn’t find that funny, feel free to appeal the judges’ decision via the ECJ.

NEWS

US President Donald Trump has vowed to close down government if that is what it takes to build his wall along the Mexican border. In an 80-minute speech at a rally in Phoenix, Trump also insulted journalists, complained about Republican senators, defended his remarks concerning the rally in Charlottesville, and implied he would "probably end up terminating Nafta", the trade deal with Mexico and Canada. While his comments were met with cheers inside the conference centre, anti-Trump protesters who had gathered outside clashed with police.
 
A suspect arrested in connection with last week's deadly van attack in Barcelona told Spain's high court yesterday that the group had been planning a much larger attack using explosives. Mohamed Houli Chemlal was the first of four suspects to testify, a day after police shot dead the man they say was the van's driver. Chemlal admitted the 12-member cell planned to blow up other iconic buildings in the city, including Barcelona's world-famous Sagrada Familia basilica.
 
Princes William and Harry have revealed how the Queen and Prince Charles sought to shield them for as long as possible from the hysteria that swept Britain 20 years ago after the death of their mother, Diana. A BBC documentary, due to be broadcast on Sunday, is the first time in a series of high-profile interviews about the Princess’ death that they have praised their father for his part in helping them grieve.

 

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

The UK government recorded a budget surplus last month for the first time since 2002. The surplus stood at £184 million, compared with last year's £308 million deficit. According to the Office for National Statistics, the surplus was boosted by a 10.6% year-on-year rise in self-assessed income tax receipts from individuals in July, a month that often sees a spike in these returns.
 
China’s largest commercial property company has abandoned plans to buy a site in southwest London. Dalian Wanda Group confirmed yesterday it had scrapped its £470 million acquisition plans of Nine Elms Square, the latest setback for the Chinese conglomerate as Beijing tightens controls on overseas investment.
 
Dominic Chappell, the former owner of BHS, is to be prosecuted by the Pensions Regulator for failing to provide information for an investigation into its sale. Chappell headed Retail Acquisitions, the company that acquired BHS for £1 from Sir Philip Green in 2015. A year later, it collapsed with the loss of 11,000 jobs and a pension deficit of as much as £571m.

MARKETS

What happened yesterday?
The FTSE 100 ended Tuesday at 7,381.74, up 63 points or 0.86%.

The biggest riser was supermarket chain Tesco. Its shares rose by 4.1% after a survey showed it had seen a three per cent year-on-year jump in sales in the 12 weeks to 13 August, making it the strongest performer among the Big Four supermarkets.
 
Mining stocks also did well as a result of an increase in commodity prices - Rio Tinto and Glencore shares were up by 2.4% and 2.1% respectively.
 
Provident Financial shares lost more than 66% of their value after the doorstep lender issued its second profit warning in three months, cancelled its dividend and said that its chief executive was leaving. The company expects to make losses of between £80m and £120m as its debt collection rates have dropped to 57%, compared with a previous rate of 90% in 2016.

Other fallers yesterday included insurer Admiral, broadcaster ITV and security firm G4S.

On the currency markets, the pound was down 0.44% against the dollar at $1.2843 and flat against the euro at 1.0913 euros.

Finals
Ashley (Laura) Holdings plc (ALY)

Interims
Anglo Pacific Group plc (APF)
Candover Investments plc (CDI)
Carillion plc (CLLN)
Costain Group plc (COST)
Hansteen Holdings (HSTN)
NMC Health Plc (NMC)
WPP plc (WPP)

Quarterly Results
Vedanta Resources Plc (VED)

AGMs
Bahamas Petroleum Company plc (BPC)
Castleton Technology plc (CTP)
Independent News & Media Plc (INM)
Iomart Group (IOM)
Latham (James) Plc (LTHM)
Triad Group plc (TRD)
 
International Economic Announcements
(12:00) MBA Mortgage Applications (US)
(15:00) New Homes Sales (US)
(15:30) Crude Oil Inventories (US)

COLUMNS OF NOTE

Writing in The Times today, Daniel Finkelstein examines the recent events surrounding Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, and Nigel Farage. He reports that the biggest topic of debate among conservatives internationally is how to save capitalism and as “conservatism becomes more working class, statist and nationalist, right-wing populists will return for bigger battles”.

In The Daily Telegraph, Asa Bennett insists that while the European Union wants to set the Brexit agenda, the UK is fighting back step by step. Bennett writes that the British negotiators are using this month to set out what they want across a range of issues and rightly feel that issues like their future trading relationship cannot be cordoned off from initial questions.

DID YOU KNOW?

In 1986, Apple released a clothing line calle"The Apple Collection," filled with oversized sweatshirts and bright patterns.